Bullying Resolution Services

Bullying Resolution Services

For the more serious and ongoing situations where your child is being repeatedly bullied or harassed, the response by the school has not been effective in resolving the situation!

About Bullying Resolution Services

Bullying Resolution Services is a new venture of Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D., director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age.

This is a brochure you can download.

On the 2017, Oregon Healthy Teen survey, 31% of 8th graders and 21% of 11th graders reported they had been repeatedly bullied in the 30 days prior to the survey. In Lane County, 34% of 8th graders reported being repeatedly bullied. These numbers have increased since 2015.

For Students with Disabilities

If your child has disabilities and is on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan, the bullying of your child should have been fully investigated and addressed in an IEP or 504 Plan meeting. 

If a school’s investigation has revealed that that bullying has created a hostile environment—that is, the conduct has been sufficiently serious to interfere with your child’s ability to receive an education and participate in school activities—the school must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the bullying, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent it from recurring, and, as appropriate, remedy its effects

Under IDEA, parents have the right to request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), paid for by the school, if you disagree with an evaluation of your child. If you have reported this bullying, the school conducted an evaluation of the situation. If the bullying of your child was not addressed in an IEP meeting or if the school’s response to the bullying has not adequately corrected the situation, this provides the basis for you to be able to request for an IEE.

Under Section 504, it is possible to argue that an IEE should be paid for by the district. If the district refuses to pay for this, the alternative is to file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

  • I can assist parents in making a request for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). This IEE, which I can then prepare, can provide the basis to more effectively address the bullying concerns in an IEP or 504 meeting.

You can find out more by accessing this document:

Other Students

Any student who experiences bullying and the school’s response has not been effective, can file a complaint at the district level. If the response to this complaint does not adequately remedy the situation, this can be appealed to the school board and then to the Oregon Department of Education. 

Students who receive protection under civil rights laws–which includes those with minority sexual orientations or identities, race, national origin, religion that is grounded in national origin, as well as sexual harassment–can file both a complaint with the district related to bullying, as well as a complaint for discriminatory harassment.

If the response to either of these complaint does not adequately remedy the situation, this can be appealed to the school board and then to the Oregon Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Unfortunately, there is no approach that can be followed to require that the district pay for the costs of resolution services or an evaluation. However, there is nothing to prevent you from requesting that the district pay for my services, which would certainly be less expensive and more productive than going through the complaint appeal process.

Alternatively, if your child is within a protected class, it would be possible to file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Positively addressing this situation at the school level would likely be considered preferable.

Serious Situations

These Bullying Resolution Services have been created to support parents whose children are being bullied or harassed in more serious and ongoing situations. These are the situations that our service are designed to address:

  • Your child has been the target of widespread or repeated hurtful acts.
  • This has resulted in your child suffering emotional distress that is interfering with your child’s learning and activities at school.
  • The school knows of at least some of these situations, either because school staff have witnessed an incident or this has been reported.
  • The hurtful situation has continued despite school knowledge. The response by the school—either refusal to do anything or interventions that have occurred—has not been effective in stopping the hurtful situations or has made matters worse.
  • The school climate itself appears to be supporting these hurtful acts. This could include incidents where school staff have ignored the situation or other aspects of the school environment that appear to support hurtful acts by students.

If the situation with your child has not reached this level of harm, I may advise you to consider some other alternatives.

Commitment

My approach to resolution is comprehensive and positively supportive of all students. I will seek to guide the school in implementing positive strategies that support all involved students, hold those who were hurtful accountable to remedy the harm and stop further hurtful acts, as well as correct aspects of the school’s environment to ensure  the school becomes more safe and welcoming for your child and others.

Essentially, I view my role as two-fold. The highest priority is providing support for you and your child.

Hopefully also, my involvement will provide coaching for school staff on alternative, empowerment and restoration strategies that they will then be able to apply in other situations.

While I cannot guarantee positive results, I am committed to working passionately to address the concerns faced by your child. I will also provide guidance on how to proceed if initial efforts are not successful. There are complaint procedures at the state level and with the Office for Civil Rights, if your child is in a protected class.

Lay Advocate ~ Not Legal Services

While I am a former attorney, I am no longer a member of the bar. The services I offer are not legal services.

A well-known practice within the special education field is known as Parent Advocates. I am serving an an Advocate for parents to address concerns of bullying or harassment.

While I understand the regulatory requirements under IDEA and the civil rights laws, the primary focus of my guidance will be grounded in effective bullying prevention practices–not legal requirements. If I identify a situation where it would be advisable for a parent to consult with an attorney, I will make an appropriate referral.

Process to Proceed

To start, I would like to hold a short no-cost telephone conversation with you. It is my intent to do this pre-screening to determine whether your situation is at a point where my services will be of assistance to you. If I do not believe your situation has reached the point where a district level complaint or request for IEE is warranted, I will suggest other alternatives.

Please contact me at nwillard@embracecivility.org to arrange for this initial conversation.

A $200 retainer will then be necessary to proceed. For this amount, I will do an initial intake which will support the drafting of a request to obtain an IEE or a complaint for bullying or bullying/discriminatory harassment. 

As noted, the district should pay for the IEE if your child is on an IEP or 504 Plan. For other students, we will have to discuss payment arrangements.

If money is a challenge for you, please contact me and we will work something out. I do NOT want any child or teen to continue to be bullied or harassed and lose his or her opportunity for a positive future just because you have financial challenges.

You will also receive a copy of my book, Support and Empower Your Bullied Child: A Guide for Parents.

My Expertise

The following documents set forth my expertise:

Services for Schools or Districts

Oregon school leaders can also request assistance in responding to chronic bullying and harassment situations through investigation, mediation, a restorative conference, or assisting in an IEP/504 meeting in a situation where a student with disabilities is being bullied or engaging in bullying.

I truly believe Oregon’s school leaders and staff do not want to see bullying and harassment occurring in school or online, want to respond effectively. and want all students to feel safe, happy, and successful in school.

But what educators have been told about bullying behavior is inaccurate and the way educators have been told to address these situations will generally be ineffective and in some cases is making things worse. More here.

Further, there is no indication that school districts have received any effective guidance on how to handle the situation of students with disabilities being or engaging in bullying and positive and comprehensive strategies to address this within an IEP or 504 Plan meeting.

Contact

Contact me at nwillard@embracecivility.org for more information.

 

 

 

 

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